Comparison of two measures of behavior change in children after day surgery

Paul F. Lee-Archer, Kristen Gibbons, Michael Reade, Britta S. von Ungern-Sternberg, Deborah Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A contemporary, well-validated instrument for the measurement of behavior change in children after general anesthesia is lacking. The Post Hospitalization Behavior Questionnaire for Ambulatory Surgery (PHBQ-AS) has been developed as an updated version of the original Post Hospitalization Behavior Questionnaire (PHBQ) to better reflect the current patient population and modern anesthetic practices. Aims: To assess the reliability of the PHBQ-AS and determine concurrent validity with another measure of child behavior, the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Methods: We compared the PHBQ-AS with the SDQ in 248 children presenting for day-case surgery. A baseline SDQ measurement was taken prior to surgery, and then, both scales were administered on days 3, 14, and 28 postsurgery. Results: The PHBQ-AS demonstrated good reliability in terms of internal consistency with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.79 and split-half correlation with Spearman Brown adjustment of 0.85. There was weak correlation with the SDQ on day 3 postoperatively (Pearson's r = 0.201), moderate correlation on day 14 (Pearson's r = 0.421), and weak-to-moderate correlation on day 28 (Pearson's r = 0.340). A cut-off score of 3.2 on the PHBQ-AS for the diagnosis of negative behavior demonstrated equivalence with the SDQ results; however, the SDQ results remained relatively constant throughout the study period and reflected the expected rate of increased risk of problem behavior in children. Conclusions: The PHBQ-AS showed good reliability but only had weak-to-moderate correlation with another measure of child behavior, the SDQ. Further validation is required before the PHBQ-AS is used for the routine measurement of behavior change in children after anesthesia, or alternatively, a new instrument needs to be developed in order for research to advance in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-66
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Anesthesia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • anesthesia
  • child
  • child behavior
  • general
  • problem behavior

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